Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Restored Water Fountain

I'm an okay handyman--better than I thought, but not as good as I could be. But I'm working on it. Nobody told me that you have to drag things into the garage from the garden over the winter. That includes terra cotta pots, table umbrellas (I actually new that), and water fountains that look like their made of stone, but are actually made of fiberglass. My good friend, Dyanne, gave me a handsome water fountain as a house-warming present. I set it up and for four seasons, it has worked like a charm. This year, I cleaned it up, noticing that the old pain was chipping badly, and saw a few cracks, but they didn't look like the might be a problem. The next day, I came out to the back yard and discovered the tank was empty and the pump was huffing and puffing with no water to recirculate. As I do in all similar circumstances, I asked my friend, Bob Spivey for help. Bob is in his middle 70s, retired, and a man of few words. But he's always fixed things for me or told me how to fix things. Lately, he's been telling me more how to fix things than actually fixing them for me. No worries. I don't mind rolling up my sleeves and getting down to business. He pointed to the back of the fountain and said, "tear a hole in it and remove the old plastic tubing and replace it. fix all the cracks. Repaint, find a place for it. Fill it with water. Plug it in. Should be fine. I did specifically what he told me to do, and it worked like a charm. I bought a beige base coat in spray paint form. And then another can of spray paint from Rustoleum, which would give the topcoat a visual equivalent of texture. Though I brought the first can back to Ace Hardware because it wasn't spraying correctly. The replacement can wasn't much better, but it got the job done. I fixed the cracks with marine adhesive, but it took seven days to cure an when I was done, I discovered another batch of cracks. That took another seven days to cure after I sealed every crack I could find.

The fountain is in a new location, and it's got a new paint coating, and it's working like a charm. It looks brand new (as long as you don't look at the back side of it! And I'll remember to store it in the garage this winter.

Pluots ripening in a brown paper bag.

Pluots brought in a bucket from the back yard.

My pluot* tree has given me a magnificent harvest this summer. While my pear tree gave me nothing, the pluots were plentiful and gorgeous. But lately a bunch of slightly under ripe pluots have been falling to the ground, which is covered in river rock. They crack on impact and are useless. Something had to be done. I went on Amazon and found a fruit picker, but it was out of stock and priced at $38.00! I had some business to settle in Sellwood, a lovely neighborhood that abuts mine, and drove over today. I passed the local Moreland Hardware Store (part of the True Value network), and thought they might have one. I'm glad I stopped. I found one that extends practically to the top of the tree, and it only cost $18. Back at the house, I quickly filled two pails of pluots, which are in paper bags ripening (as instructed on a YouTube video). Pluots have a sweet, musky flavor and truly represent the best of a plum and an apricot.

Tomorrow I'll deliver some to my brother for installing these fabulous new lights in my backyard, which have added some awesome atmosphere to the back yard for summer dinners al fresco. It's been a summer of fixing and restoring things in my house.

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